How can an eye exam help to detect glaucoma?

Over half a million people in the UK over the age of 40 have glaucoma, while 10% of the UK population go blind as a result of this eye condition.

As one of the most common causes of blindness, we want to raise awareness about glaucoma, including its causes, common symptoms, and treatment options.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an irreversible eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. There are different types of glaucoma, but generally speaking, it is caused by build-up of fluid in the eye, leading to increased intraocular pressure.

When the pressure increases too much, it can squeeze the optic nerve, causing some cells to die. This can lead to sight loss and blindness if left untreated and unmonitored.

Although anyone can develop glaucoma, there are certain factors which can increase your risk, including:

  • Being over the age of 60
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Your ethnicity – African, Caribbean, or Asian people are at higher risk
  • Your family history – the likelihood of having glaucoma increases if your parents or siblings have it
  • Other medical conditions like short-sightedness, or diabetes

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

There are two types of primary glaucoma: primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) and primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG).

POAG develops over many years and is often symptomless, so people are often unaware they have the condition. However, as it advances, you might notice headaches, decreased peripheral vision, trouble seeing in low light, and a halo around light sources.

PACG is caused by the sudden rapid build-up of fluid behind the eye, resulting in sudden, intense pain, redness of the eye, blurred or reduced vision, headaches and nausea and requires immediate medical attention to prevent damage and sight loss.

How is glaucoma detected and monitored at our opticians practice in Feltham, West London?

Here at our opticians practice in Feltham, West London, we have all the latest equipment and technology to quickly and accurately diagnose and monitor glaucoma.

From all our years of experience, we can safely say that early detection is by far the best way to ensure successful treatment and prevention of sight loss. In fact, over 90% of glaucoma suffers who get treatment will not go blind and will retain most of their vision for the rest of their life.

Having regular eye examinations plays the most significant role in glaucoma detection. Your comprehensive eye exam includes a glaucoma visual fields assessment to test your peripheral vision, as this is usually the first area glaucoma affects; a funduscopy which shows us the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels at the back of your eye, and a quick, non-contact eye pressure test using the ICare tonometer.

We also recommend having our advanced Revo 80 OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scan, as this maps even the tiniest changes in the layers of your retina, allowing earlier detection of glaucoma. This scan is non-invasive, quick and provides an even more in-depth view into your eye health for peace of mind, which is especially important for asymptomatic people who may be at risk of developing glaucoma.

Mr Kasmani using the Revo OCT for measuring corneal thickness to refine intraocular pressure

OCT scans can also help to monitor the condition and track any changes for existing sufferers every year.

Reena’s glaucoma experience

Reena is a patient whom Mr Kasmani diagnosed with glaucoma. She wanted to share her experience, to highlight the effects this condition can have on vision and eye health, and how Mr Kasmani helped her to preserve her vision. Here’s her story:

I started to experience halos, headache, sinus pains and felt lightheaded, so I rang Mr Kasmani to get it checked out.

He did a visual fields test, OCT scan, measured my eye pressure, and a sight test – the whole works basically! All of the results were okay apart from the pressure in my right eye and the angle narrowing, which he suspected was glaucoma. Mr Kasmani made the decision to refer me to the Western Eye Hospital A&E for further tests where they confirmed this. 

Had I not gone to see him, I probably would have ignored the symptoms and put them down to migraine attacks. I would advise anyone with similar symptoms to go and get them checked out straight away and to always attend annual eye check-ups.”

What glaucoma treatment is available in the UK?

Glaucoma treatment aims to reduce your eye pressure, and this is most commonly achieved using special eye drops. In more severe cases, laser or surgical treatment may be required.

If our principal optometrist, Mr Kasmani, has to refer you for glaucoma treatment in the UK, the ophthalmologist at the hospital will be able to advise you on your treatment options for the best possible outcome.

Get in touch

If you’re worried about glaucoma symptoms, or think you might be at risk, contact us to book your next eye test in our Feltham opticians practice for your peace of mind.